Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sherman Guarding a Roadblock in Livorno

A rare color photo of an early production M4A1 Sherman of B Company's 3rd Platoon (752nd Tank Battalion) guarding a roadblock in Livorno, most likely taken on 22 July 1944, several days after Livorno was secured.  This is a shot that was staged by the photographer for the enjoyment of the folks back home.  Originally labeled as simply "on the road to Pisa." Some historians and enthusiasts once believed this was taken in Ponsacco, but the 752 was nowhere near Ponsacco. It is now confirmed that the location is in front of the Villa Bertocchini in downtown Livorno.  The once beautiful Villa Bertocchini survived the war, only to be torn down and replaced with an ugly apartment complex. This tank belonged to Sergeant Ray Holt (the father of Bob Holt, 752nd Tank Battalion historian), who is show in the tank commander's position manning the .50 machine gun. The photo is another staged action shot in the 22 July series of at least 4 colored photos (the other two photos have not yet surfaced). Both photos have been incorrectly labeled as 1st Armored Division tanks in various books and websites. However, the original photo caption in the National Archives, the markings on the tank, the historical facts, and the unmistakable identities of the 752nd men clearly indicate this is a 752nd tank

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